Expanding My Spice Universe

If you have read my blog, you will notice that I have no problem cooking with garlic, onions, salt, wine and citrus. Additionally, I am not afraid of soy sauce or even Thai fish sauce. I’m very familiar with cilantro, parsley, basil, chives, and mint, especially in their fresh form (I really don’t like these herbs when dried, except maybe dried basil when I’m desperate).

So what is my problem? Well, to be honest, I’m kind of getting bored with those flavors. They’re GREAT, don’t get me wrong, and they will continue to be recurring characters on my plates, but if I am going to evolve as a home cook (and if you are going to continue to read my stuff) I need to branch out a little and add some different spices and flavorings to my repertoire.

I’ve purchased some bulk spices, in particular things like coriander and garam masala, from a great Indian store just outside of Baltimore (where I used to live). I thought perhaps I’d be inspired to try some new things. I did make a mean lentil daal at least once, but I can’t seem to make the leap into anything more interesting or delicious to make with my stash of spices. You’re probably wondering why I don’t just take an Indian cooking class or something – well, I love Indian food and I’m definitely game for giving it a shot, but what I’m attempting to articulate in this post is a desire to find a way to use these spices to create something wholly unique. How can I use these spices to make everyday ingredients more interesting?  

As a start, I’m thinking about trying out this recipe from 101cookbooks: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/giant-chipotle-white-beans-recipe.html which has chipotle in it, and that is definitely a spice I’ve never used, on white beans which are pretty tame and delicious.

I’ll report back on the results of this experiment, but in the meantime, I’m looking for some unique ideas on how to use the less standard spices – coriander, garam masala, tumeric, curry powder, etc to make tasty dishes that aren’t so exotic that I couldn’t get my friends and family to at least try it.  Open to any and all ideas!

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2 Responses

  1. Really enjoying your blog. My husband and I have somewhat of a fixation with freshly cooked dinners (our office lunches are usually sandwiches and reheated leftovers though) so I can relate to your routine.
    Indian and Pakistani food is a great way to add some diversity to your menu. Take a look at http://www.khanapakana.com/recipes.aspx

  2. Hi ! Thank you so much for the excellent suggestion! I will definitely give these recipes a try…. I even have a semi decent Indian grocer nearby who has an awesome spice slection. And I am glad you are enjoying my site…. keeps me motived !!!

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